Methodist pastor Emilio Castro, a former general secretary of the World Council of Churches, has been decorated by the government of Chile for his defense of human rights in that country during the rule of dictator Augusto Pinochet. The commendation for non-Chilean citizens was bestowed on Castro October 14 in Geneva by the South American nation’s representative to international organizations. Pinochet, who died in 2006, led the September 1973 coup against democratically elected Chilean president Salvador Allende, and he continued as dictator until March 1990. Nearly 2,300 people disappeared and nearly 32,000 were tortured in the Pinochet years, according to reports from the National Council of Churches. Castro, a Uruguayan minister, was WCC general secretary from 1985 to 1992. A former Century editor at large and the author of such books as A Passion for Unity, he lives in retirement in Switzerland.


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